Black Nationalism advocates a racial definition (or redefinition) of national identity, as opposed to multiculturalism. There are different indigenous nationalist philosophies but the principles of all African nationalist ideologies are unity, and self-determination or independence from European society.

Inspired by the apparent success of the Haitian Revolution, the origins of African indigenous nationalism in political thought lie in the 19th century with people like Marcus Garvey, Henry McNeal Turner, Martin Delany, Henry Highland Garnet, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Paul Cuffe, etc.

The repatriation of African American slaves to Liberia or Sierra Leone was a common African nationalist theme in the 19th century. Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association of the 1910s and 1920s was the most powerful black nationalist movement to date, claiming 11 million members.

Black Nationalism throughout the world

The main political and cultural expressions of black nationalism are:

Noirisme or noiriste

Flag of Haiti 1964 (civil)

Political flag of noiriste parties and circles

Noirisme or noiriste in Haiti. The term is generally used to describe a racialist view of culture and politics among intellectuals in Haiti. It became a fully-fledged movement after the American occupation and under the influence of Jean Price-Mars. In the 1930s it could be called the Haitian brand of négritude, with its emphasis on the African past, the Voodoo religion, and the need for authentic black leadership. It was promoted by the journal Les Griots, organ of the ethnological movement started by Louis Diaquoi, Lorimer Denis, and François Duvalier.

The late 1920s saw the creation of Noirisme main political group, the People’s National party (Parti Populaire Nationale, PPN).


Negrismo in Cuba and Dominican Republic, it is similar to Haitian Noirisme. However the first generation of Negristas were not Afro-Caribbean but whites who had better access to cultural and educational institutions and told the stories of African descendants.This retelling or new lore was not always in fairness or the best light of Afro-Caribbeans. What started as a literary and cultural movement, later developed in a political movement influenced by Noirisme. The cause of this shift was the difficulty of Black Cubans and Dominicans to become full-fledged citizens and racism.

The forebear of political Negrismo was the Partido Independiente de Color (PIC) a political party composed almost entirely of African former slaves. It was founded in 1908 by African veterans of the Cuban War of Independence. In 1912, the PIC led a revolt (Guerra de las Razas) in the eastern province of Oriente. The revolt was crushed and the party disbanded. After the revolt and among great fears of racial conflicts any political party based or advocating or promoting race or religious differences was outlawed. In the 1920s the Cabildo de los Emancipados is founded with the stated purpose of being the cultural center of Negrismo.


Flag of the UNIA

Flag of the UNIA, also Pan-African flag

Garveyism, located in British Caribbean and Liberia, is an aspect of Black Nationalism which takes its source from the works, words and deeds of UNIA-ACL founder Marcus Garvey. The fundamental focus of Garveyism is the complete, total and never ending redemption of the continent of Africa by people of African ancestry, at home and abroad. It is rooted in one basic idea: "whatsoever things common to man that man has done, man can do". Therefore, Africa can become as glorious and profoundly advanced in the scientific and technological realm as any, when Africans will it to be.

The tenets of Garveyism are 1) race first, 2) self-reliance, and 3) nationhood (later refers more specifically to the establishment of bantustans). The ultimate goal of Garveyism is a United States of Africa which will protect the interests of black people worldwide.

Politically Garveyism is the ideology or inspiration of the Pan-African Liberian Party and People's Political Party (PPP) of Jamaica.

In the 1940s, the more radical and socialist groups, who where also critical of Garvey, formed the All-African Workers Party (AAWP). The AAWP defined afro-socialism as a race-conscious, internationalist, mass-based, radical movement for equality, justice, opportunity, and economic power.


Pan-Africanism is an ideology and movement that advocates the unification of all African peoples. It based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social and political progress and so, it aims to “unify and uplift” people of African descent. Events such has the the Pan-African Congress intended to address the issues facing Africa as a result of European colonization of most of the continent marks its main source of ideas and communications among various groups. Following the first Pan-African Conference of 1900 in London a series of meetings are held in 1919 (Paris), 1921 and 1923 (both in London), 1927 (New York).


Négritude in French Africa and Caribbean is a literary and ideological movement, developed by francophone black intellectuals, writers, and politicians in France in the 1930s. The Négritude writers found solidarity in a common black identity as a rejection of perceived French colonial racism. They believed that the shared black heritage of members of the African diaspora was the best tool in fighting against French political and intellectual hegemony and domination. They formed a realistic literary style and formulated their Marxist ideas as part of this movement.

Africanidades and Luso-Africanidades

Africanidades and Luso-Africanidades is a political and cultural movement of the Portuguese Africa. Its main political representatives are the African Independence parties of Portuguese Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Portuguese Guinea, Cape Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe and Cabinda).

Culture and religion

In the cultural aspects the Harlem Renaissance and Rastafarianism are also part of black nationalism

It also includes African initiated churches (is a Christian church independently started in Africa by Africans and not by missionaries from another continent, in which they sometimes hold to one or more African tribal belief systems syncretised with Christianity.

See also

Colonisation of Africa

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